When I started writing the world that Cry Havoc takes place in, it was somewhat different than how it ended up. The first story I actually wrote had the Khajal Schism, but the Harvesters were more of a Special Forces commando squad, and the FOSsils were vaguely psychic and considered a little wacky. There were dinosaurs, of course, and they talked. This was the first appearance of Ripper and Brokehorn, and something about the idea of a bloodthirsty Triceratops and thoughtful T-Rex appealed to me.
As time went on I began to think more about the FOSsils, and I liked the idea of these soldiers who were 'crippled giants', and began to flesh out Fletcher's role more From a purely manipulative son of a bitch to someone who was willing to do what it took to make Imperial dreams a reality. The nice thing about Fletcher is that in retrospect you can see how he changes from amoral and humanizes, specifically with Clay's arc.
Clay was originally a secondary character, with Kipling being the primary FOSsil POV. However I liked the poetic license I could take with his character. I thought of the sobriquet "The Last Reaver" and the ideas just flowed from there - his loss on Scylla, Jai'dan's death on Deep Haven, and the terrible aftermath that followed. It held weight with me, and his exile from the other FOSsils only heightened the poignancy. Not bound by his need to have a Scytheclaw, but able to make her presence felt, I found I could do a lot with Clay.
That's what led me to the idea of him mentoring these youths, full of potential. Originally the cadets were a lot nastier to each other, but as I wrote I found that they took on attitudes of their own. Jane and Salem's relation mellowed, Paris' struggles were internalized, and Sand became the unwilling killer with a heart of gold.
My approach with Jane and Salem, putting them into the Academy, doesn't imply support of female in combat arms, but the culture of Cry Havoc is so different as to be almost unrecognizable, with its sanctioned duels, codes of honor, and military footing. The females there are of a different cut than the ones I worked with.